Your divorce is highly charged with emotion, the intensity of which is only matched by how highly charged it is with money. Child custody issues aside, most divorce law relates to money and the things you and your spouse bought with it during marriage. As such, you may be required to complete several different kinds of financial statements throughout the course of your case.
Financial Standing Affidavits
While child support is typically based upon your gross income and is decided under guidelines-based formulas, post-separation support, temporary alimony, and permanent alimony are usually set based upon a judge's analysis of the dependent spouse's need for the support and the supporting spouse's ability to pay. This may require you to sign an affidavit setting forth your income and expenses. Include your income from all sources and list not only your living expenses, but also your debt-service obligations. Credit cards, student loans, rent, car loans, groceries, cable, utilities and gas are all relevant. Your attorney probably has a form affidavit that has all of these categories listed.
The part of your case where you divide marital property and debt will require a different affidavit than your alimony case. Equitable distribution or community property inventory affidavits list all of your assets and debts, both marital and separate. While the financial affidavits you sign in support cases focus on your income and expenses, the property division inventory focuses on outstanding balances on all your debts and the fair market value of all your property. Make sure you list everything you own and owe; failure to include a marital debt in your name could mean you get stuck with it without compensation and failure to disclose an asset makes it look like you're hiding something.
Discovery is the phase of your case where both sides seek to learn everything they can about the other's position. Subpoenas, depositions, interrogatories and document production requests fly back and forth all the way up until the eve of the trial. As part of this process, you may be required to answer interrogatories and document production requests, attesting to their accuracy in a sworn, written statement. As with your inventory affidavits and financial standing affidavits, you'll want to be accurate; if an interrogatory asks you to state all of your assets, don't leave anything out.
Financial Statements Outside of Court During Divorce
Since life goes on irrespective of divorce, you may execute financial statements outside of court while your divorce case is going on. Any kind of loan or credit application will qualify as a financial statement, since it relates to your income and your financial history. Make sure that anything you fill out is accurate; your income on a loan application should be exactly what you earn--nothing more, nothing less. Rest assured that your ex's attorney will subpoena any application you make during your case and compare what you told the bank to what you told the court on your financial standing affidavit. If they don't match, you'd better have a good explanation.
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